Saturday, May 30, 2009

Summer Projects: Mouse House

Yesterday sister-in-law B asked me to babysit niece M during the afternoon. Niece M is almost five, which is good because I don't know much about babies at all and wouldn't really know what to do with one. But five is a good age and we had a good time. My FedEx package came while M was here, and she promptly decided that the very large box with a small hole in the corner was a mouse house. Thus we had to furnish the mouse house.

See, the mouse even has a boat and a second bed for his friend! Then M has to write her name on the house... twice. Here is her effort. She can actually write her name, I swear, she just doesn't know what order the letters go in.

So that was my day, spent furnishing a house for rodents and attempting to figure out what M was trying to tell me while we watched Scooby Doo.

Friday, May 29, 2009

New View

Well as most of you know, the New York City Squirrel is currently not in New York City and won't be for another five months! So don't expect any interesting city posts from this point onward. I did want to take a moment to note the change in environment. We're out in the suburbs of the Twin Cities right now and there are things like TREES and GEESE and BUNNIES and even some natural prairie! Observe, the view from our livingroom/diningroom/kitchen in New York City.

Nice, huh? Sometimes there would be maintenance guys out on that roof in the mornings, which was always weird. Really, this is a pretty good view for New York City since we can actually see above the building next to us.

This is our current view from the dining room of B's parent's house.

Yeah, a little different! You can't even see any other houses from the dining room! And there is a major road right next to the house but it's actually really quiet, at least compared to the chaos of New York City. So yeah, it's really nice that I can walk right outside without running down five flights of stairs or waiting forever for the elevator. And it's nice I can walk straight out onto some nice grass with bare feet and just enjoy it and not have to share it with a billion people. Ah, the suburbs... such a wonderful place!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sigh... goodbye little apartment.

I was very sad to move out of our little apartment yesterday. It was our home for almost three years, and I've lived there longer than any other place except my family home in Chelan. This is what it looked like when we first moved in.

Here it is during the last couple months we lived there. (Yeah, I know we didn't change much in the three years we lived there... I'm not exactly excited about interior decorating.)

And here it is on the day we moved out, yesterday.

Isn't it sad? It makes me sad. And I actually teared up a little when the door closed for the last time and we walked down the hallway. It was our first place together and we went through a lot there. B proposed to me just down the street! And we planned our wedding from there, and hosted our first dinner parties as a couple. But life moves on, and so will we. I'm looking forward to turning our next place into a nice little home when we finally move in in November.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Squirrel Stuff I Own: Haverford Black Squirrel

I started this series with a gift from my friend E's family, and that is how this series shall end.

This is a plush black squirrel from Haverford College. And he is adorable.

This guy sits on my dresser and watches us sleep at night. Creepy, eh? No, not really. He's quite friendly and spends a lot of time hanging out with Bernard when we leave the house for a few days or more. You can't tell from this photo, but he's holding a plush acorn in his little paws. So cute and friendly, even though he attacks B every once in a while when he's feeling particularly squirrely.

And that, my friends, is the end of my series on squirrel stuff I own. It seemed like such a short series, didn't it? I know, I simply do not own enough squirrel stuff. If you would like for the series to continue, you should feel free to send me new squirrelish things and I shall post about them.

But until then... we've got to move out of this apartment and get on a plane this afternoon! By the next time I post we shall be back in Minnesota, at least temporarily.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Well, it's a beautiful day up here in Morningside Heights.

B and I have spent the whole day packing and cleaning and packing some more. Well, actually we're not packing because the movers are coming tomorrow and they're going to do that part, but we've done a lot of organizing and cleaning. It's amazing how much stuff you can accumulate when you don't move for three years. But we've accomplished a lot today and I hope that the movers will work quickly tomorrow since we need to have our butts out the door by about 4 PM.

And the other B in my life, Bernard, is already packed and ready for his next big adventure!

Squirrel Stuff I Own: Squirrel Book

A few birthdays ago, B was out shopping for books for me. He correctly went to the wildlife section where he found this little gem! Squirrels: The Animal Answer Guide was written by Richard Thorington Jr., the curator of mammals at the Smithsonian.

This book is awesome. It takes a question-and-answer format, and the questions are fantastic. One of my favorites is, "How are squirrels incorporated into literature?" This book has taught me that the world's largest squirrels live in Kazakhstan (E is working on getting a picture for me...) and that squirrels rotate their hind legs in order to climb down trees and biologists have yet to figure out exactly how they do it. This is a book I get off the shelf at least once a month either to check a fact or just do a little pleasure reading.

Okay, all you squirrel fans out there, I've got just one more squirrel item to feature in this series and it's a doozy! Come back tomorrow (as I know you will) to experience the ultimate in fuzzy squirrel pleasure.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Parental Visit: Days Five, Six, Seven, and Eight

Alright, I've taken a small break from blogging, mostly because we've been out of town and away from Internet access for a few days. The last few days were pretty full, but I've slowly stopped taking pictures as it becomes more and more tiring each day.

Day Five was the law school graduation, which was far more pleasant than the big university commencement. We were in tents! And I got to sit next to my good friend T and my good friend S and and my good friend N's family so it was all just lots of good friendly love. Then after three receptions we ended the day by giving B his graduation presents. I got him a lovely map of Saint Paul from 1891, nicely framed. Ignore the cardboard edging in this picture... we're packing this baby up tomorrow and didn't think it was worth it to take off the cardboard.
Day Six was a crazy day. We got up early and headed down to Battery Park to go see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. It was incredibly hot and crowded and I was quite grumpy. Brandon did most of the pictures that day, and he got this good shot of the Financial District as we were leaving Manhattan.

I know everyone has seen pictures of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island before so I'm not going to bother to post those. In the Ellis Island Museum I found this interesting display of pamphlets advertising Minnesota in a selection of Scandinavian languages and English. I thought that was cool.

So then the crazy part of Day Six... we got on the train and went to Philadelphia!

Day Seven we woke up in Philly and had a pretty full day in the historical section of the city. We took a tour of Independence Hall and saw where they wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence and also where all the branches of the government met during the first years after our nation's birth.
We also managed to try Philly Cheesesteak and eat some ice cream. And after a short nap in the hotel (During which I watched part of the Jon & Kate Plus 8 marathon on TLC! Yay TV!), we went to the City Tavern where they had a selection of beer supposedly made by the old popular recipes around the time of the American Revolution. I tried Alexander Hamilton's "Treasury Ale" and also Thomas Jefferson's famous beer.

Today is Day Eight, also the last day of the parental visit. We got up early and got our butts on the train back to New York City. Once again, no pictures. Seriously, people, I can only take pictures for so many days before I snap (ha ha, it's a pun). And don't get me started on posing for pictures. I hate posing for pictures. So much.

The Super Shuttle is coming to pick up B's parents in about a half hour, so I better go finish with our visiting. We've got lots of packing to do tomorrow and then we're moving out the next day, but I'm hoping to get some blogging done in that time. I still have some squirrel things to feature!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Parental Visit: Day Four

Yesterday was the giant university commencement! We had to scurry over and get seats at 8:40 AM, but the actual ceremony didn't even start until about 11 AM. Of course, they had to get all of the graduates seated and that took about an hour. Seriously, an hour. Poor B didn't even get a good spot - all he could see was the granite wall in front of him!

There was not a cloud in the sky and the sun was very intense, so about a half hour into the ceremony we ran for the shade. We hung out there for a bit until they did the conferring of degrees on the law grads. It's such a big event that we couldn't see the speaker and had to watch him on the giant screen. Here is the dean of the law school asking the president of the university to give the law students their degrees.

After the commencement B picked up his diploma, and we attended a reception (with champagne!). And then we had more New York City excitement, as we went to the Burger Joint for lunch!

After that we rode a carriage through Central Park, and then walked around in FAO Schwartz and Tiffany's, and then hit Rockefeller Center and Saint Patrick's Cathedral. And then we were exhausted.
We have the real law school graduation today, which will be much smaller and nicer, so that's exciting. And there will be about five receptions for us to attend afterward, but that will be cool. Hopefully there will be champagne!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Parental Visit: Day Three

Oh man, today was a big day.

We started out with a small luncheon for the law school graduates, which was a lot smaller and less fancy than I had expected. Also they served us Red Delicious apples, which are the most disgusting apples known to man. But I'm a big girl and I can deal, and I finally got to meet Mama B and Papa M, and Sister B and even some grandparents of L, so that was exciting. (My habit of abbreviating names is not as efficient as I had hoped, is it?)

After the luncheon we headed to Times Square to find some Broadway tickets at the TKTS booth. I found this funny little Latin inscription next to us while we were standing in line. It's cute but I wonder why they put it on the water meter cover and not on something a little more... grand?

After acquiring tickets for Guys and Dolls we headed to the Empire State Building. Brandon and I haven't been to the top since our first September here. It's a much different experience when you actually know what buildings you're looking at! We paid the extra money to go to the 102nd floor, which we all agreed was well worth the extra cash. Although it's not open air like the other observation deck, it does give you a much more expansive view and it's not crowded at all. I took this picture of East Midtown with the shadow of the Empire State Building in it. Pretty cool.

We were a little too slow at the Empire State Building, so we ended up practically running to our 7:00 show at the Nederlander Theatre. I had seen Guys and Dolls before at Macalester, and had enjoyed it there, but obviously this experience was on a totally different level. Lauren Graham (from Gilmore Girls) was in it, and we got to meet her briefly outside the theater afterward.

Now my feet are all torn up from wearing heels all day, but luckily we get to sit for hours during the big university commencement in about an hour. And I need to go get ready for that...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Parental Visit: Day Two

Yesterday we took the parents on a semi-confusing tour of the Greenwich Village, Chinatown, Little Italy, and the South Street Seaport. It was quite fun, and included a lot of walking and a lot of running around on public transit. Quite the day!

I was kind of sick of taking pictures, so I didn't document the day as well as I should have. We did run into a cute little courtyard in Greenwich Village.

I would so love to live here. I can't even imagine how expensive it is.

We've got a little reception at the law school today and then we're not sure what our plans are. The weather is beautiful today so we might head out to the Empire State Building and possibly see a musical tonight. Either way, we need to be in bed early since seating for commencement starts at 8:30 AM tomorrow and I'm sure the line starts forming much earlier!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Parental Visit: Day One

B's parents showed up for graduation late on a Saturday night. So late, in fact, that we barely got home before midnight and all basically collapsed into bed rather than try to do any cool New York City sorts of things.

So after sleeping in quite a bit (we were all exhausted) we headed out for a look around our neighborhood. Set up for graduation has continued at a quick pace, and they're almost ready for the big day on Wednesday. Check out the bleachers for the graduates and the tents for the families below. It's like the circus has come to town.

We made our way down into the Upper West Side where we ran into a street fair that seemed to go on forever. B was hoping to find deep-fried Oreos, but didn't. I was hoping to find cheap sunglasses that aren't as big as a dinner plate, but that's pretty much impossible these days.

After the street fair we made our way down to Grand Central, and then a nice long walk through Bryant Park to Times Square. Times Square was, of course, filled with people, although less busy than normal. That was pretty much all that our tired selves could handle, so we came home. B and I had an event to attend, and the 'rents had some relaxing to do. We're not sure about our plans for today, though, so we'll see what happens. We have two full days of graduation stuff happening in the middle of the week so we're trying to fit all the city stuf in today.
Oh, and one of the best parts of yesterday was a squirrel at Columbia who was very interested in me. We flirted a little bit, but I think he just wanted to use me for my food.

Friday, May 15, 2009

New York City is such a strange place to live.

People shouldn't take offense at the title of this post. I know many of you reading this are real New Yorkers, born and raised here, and many are adopted New Yorkers, who love the city and don't want to live anywhere else, at least for the next ten years. New York has its good points, that's for sure. But I think we can all agree that there is no other city like it in the United States, and that living here is a very particular type of experience.

So today's New York topic is milk, in particular the expiration date on milk. Behold the photo below. This is a fresh half-gallon of milk B picked up from the store a few days ago. Please note in particular that there are two expiration dates!

Yes, that's right, New York City has its own system for calculating expiration dates, separate from the system used in the rest of the state. The official explanation is... well, I couldn't easily find an official explanation on the Internet, but B and I have our theories about this.

Those of you who live in New York City have surely noticed that it's almost impossible for deliveries to be made to the bodegas and delis and grocery stores in an efficient manner. There is always some sort of double or triple parking going on, always not enough workers to quickly move the food. I have often walked past the Morton Williams up here and noticed many, many large boxes piled with food just sitting in front of the store waiting to be taken to the storage underground. And yes, I have seen frozen dairy products (frozen yogurt) sitting out in the sun. In other parts of the nation, the dairy products move directly from their refrigerated truck and into the refrigerated storage in the grocery store with less than two minutes spent out in the heat of the day. That's simply not possible in New York City, thus, your milk is probably going to go bad before it would in Albany.

Another interesting thing about New York City milk, unrelated to this expiration date issue, is that the price of milk is regulated by the city. They recalibrate the price monthly, and last June the price of a gallon of milk was supposed to be no more than $3.93. Of course, this may be the law but very few grocers actually follow it. I know I pay more than that for a gallon of milk on a regular basis.

New York City is a weird place. We pay too much for milk here despite the law regulating the price, and the milk expires much quicker than elsewhere. I'm sure I'll come up with a billion more posts about why living in New York City is so strange in the next couple of years. In the meantime, I've got some milk that needs to be taken care of before it goes bad...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Squirrel Stuff I Own: Squirrel Calendar

This is something I think all of our houseguests notice as soon as they walk into our apartment. I mean, who in the world actually buys and proudly displays a squirrel calendar? Oh right, that would be me. And apparently other people do too because I've had no problem acquiring these squirrel calendars for the past two years.

Here is the squirrel from May, in all his fuzzy little glory. As I was saying to B earlier when I was taking the picture of this thing, "This calendar is like porn for me." To which he replied, "That is definitely the sign of a serious problem." Whatever, he bought this latest calendar for me. Either for my birthday or Christmas. They're only 24 days apart and sometimes it's hard to remember which gift came from which event.

I am very sad to think that I will have to pack up this squirrel calendar soon, and even sadder to think that by the time I unpack it it will already be November and I will have missed out on a full five months of squirrel porn. For this reason, I am actually thinking that I'll take the calendar with me, and hang it where we happen to be at the moment.

Home is where the squirrel calendar is, right? That is how the saying goes?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Casey's Foods: Little Bites!

So I'm sure that you my loyal readers have learned much about me in the past four weeks or so. For instance, I bet most of you didn't know that my squirrel obsession actually ran so deep, or that I was such a big Trekkie. Well another thing you should know about me is that I love things that are the wrong size.

What do I mean by wrong size? I mean pencils that are the size of my arm. And waffles that are the size of a quarter. I am especially a fan of things that are smaller than they are supposed to be. So you can imagine how excited I was when B went grocery shopping and brought home a new cereal. A cereal that is the wrong size.

That's right. I love my Frosted Mini-Wheats, and even though they were already miniature, those crazy folks at Kellogg's have gone and made them even smaller and turned them into Little Bites!

I know, who comes up with this shit?!?! They must be hiring straight out of MIT at Kellogg's, let me tell you.

The funniest part is that they are advertised as being half the size of the mini-wheats we all know and love, and they continue that theme in a little "half size" quiz on the back where they ask you what is half the size of California and half the size of a redwood tree and so on. It's pretty clever.

And how does it taste? GREAT. Once you get over the fact that you're eating baby mini-wheats (may they rest in peace in my stomach), and that you can fit like ten in your mouth at the same time, it's very exciting and tasty. And Kellogg's is not paying me to say that, although if they wanted to reward me for this great review with a couple more boxes of mini-wheats... I sure wouldn't mind.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Squirrel Stuff I Own: Awesome Squirrel Shirt

So the first thing you're probably all asking yourselves is, "Why in the world does Casey not wear this squirrel shirt more frequently?" The truth is that I don't ever wear it, and had completely forgotten that I owned it until I started going through my clothes last week as part of my pre-moving organizing.

This is from my friend C, whose mother was mentioned in a post below as the excellent cook who bought me the stuffed squirrel ornament. Apparently they share a genetic predisposition to buying squirrel things for their weird squirrel-obsessed friends! I believe I got this from C for my last birthday and I also think I cried a little when I opened up the package. B was very impressed too. He loves it when we have extra squirrel stuff around (ha ha).

But wow, this shirt rocks, doesn't it? It has not one, but two squirrels, and they are even sharing an acorn. Of course out in the real world squirrels would never share any sort of food. They haven't invented socialism yet, nor do I think they will. It's every squirrel for himself out there, guys.

Anyway, I am making a commitment to actually wear this shirt from time to time over the summer, so if you see me in June or July and I am not wearing this shirt you should admonish me and make me go home and change or at least produce photographic evidence that I have worn the shirt recently.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Star Trek XI: The Search for a New Audience

The very first movie I ever went to was Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

"Well, you were about three months old," my mother says, as she retells the story. "We took you during naptime so you would just sleep during the movie. And you did! I fed you during the previews and you slept through the entire movie... even when the Enterprise blew up! It was an odd-numbered movie though and not very good... sorry your first Star Trek movie wasn't a good one."

Although the original series had been cancelled for years before I was born, I watched an awful lot of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and some of Voyager. I loved the television shows, but I have a special place in my heart for the original cast movies, most of which have been released in my lifetime. I don't remember seeing The Search for Spock as an infant, but let me tell you about two of my earliest memories.

1. The scenes from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in which the pink Klingon blood floats around the ship.

2. The scene from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in which Khan places brain-controlling worms into the ears of Chekhov and his captain.

I had nightmares about those worms for a LONG time. Seriously. And for a long time I didn't know what earwigs were, but I thought they were the creatures from Star Trek and I was terrified of them.

So clearly Star Trek has always been a part of my life. B and I went to see the new movie on Friday night. We had a great time! There were people dressed in Starfleet uniforms in the crowd, and you could tell it was a nerdy, nerdy bunch. Anytime there was any sort of reference to the original series or the movies, or anytime a beloved character appeared for the first time there was all sorts of clapping and screaming. I usually hate boisterous crowds, but these guys were great. Nerd factor of 100%.

I loved the new movie. I won't go into details, mostly because there are about three people who read this blog who would really care about such things. It certainly wasn't a perfect movie, but it was incredibly entertaining and fun and the casting was great and the acting was amazing. And new Spock is hot. But mostly, I'm just thrilled that Star Trek has been resurrected. It is true that I watch Wrath of Khan probably once a month, and I still love it each time, but damnit, Jim, we need something new! And I know that some people are upset about, um... let's say, the consequences of some time travel issues in the movie. But I'm frankly relieved that we've broken from canon and can now boldly explore new plots and new character development without being weighed down by chronology problems and the like. I'm very excited to see Star Trek films in the future, and, here I'll admit it, even more excited that a new Star Trek film could be a first movie theater experience for B Junior and/or C Junior in the next decade!

Reynolds Family Fact #2: My sister's first movie theater experience was The Fox and the Hound. I win.
Reynolds Family Fact #3: Despite Fact #2, my sister is almost as dorky as I, and bought us matching Star Trek shirts for Christmas last year. Yes, I wore mine to the movie on Friday.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

Squirrel Stuff I Own: Stuffed Squirrel Ornament

You guys, the squirrel stuff has just become so out-of-control around here that I'm actually finding new squirrel things all the time as I start to do my pre-packing organizing. I found this little guy stuffed away in a box, totally unloved! I felt so bad!

So I know he looks kind of like a cross between a squirrel, a snail, and Jabba the Hutt. He is a little strange. I received this as part of a wedding gift from the mother of one of my best friends in high school. The main part of the gift was a really cute recipe box with some of her favorite recipes. This particular mother is a really good cook. My friend C would tell me, "Hey Casey, my mother is making seven layer bean dip tonight..." and within minutes I had arranged to spend the evening at her place watching Wayne's World and eating bean dip. She also made these fantastic cheese balls... oh wow. I think she was responsible for my first cheese ball experience, and what an experience it was!

I'm getting off topic. Cheese tends to do this to me. What was I saying?

Oh yes, so this little squirrel was also stuffed into the recipe box (he fit perfectly). So cute! He has a little loop attached to him that you can't really see in the picture, so I'm pretty sure he's supposed to be a Christmas ornament or just some type of decorative hanging thing. Now that I've rediscovered him, I've given him a nice place on the bookshelf with various other squirrel items.

Okay, even more exciting, people... I rediscovered a piece of squirrel-themed clothing that I own. I know - how could I forget about something like that? And why do I never wear it? But that is for another post...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Casey's Other Collection

Yes, friends, it's true. I actually have a collection of non-squirrel items, although many would argue that this particular collection is slightly less awesome than my squirrel collection. They're probably right. But friends, allow me to introduce you to my other hobby: collecting coins!

It all started with the state quarters series. I was actually slow to start my collection, I only begin seriously seeking out state quarters in about 2008, I believe. My grandmother was kind enough to send me her extra state quarters and an archival folder for my collection. As of a few months ago, I finally completed the set! The whole set doesn't photograph very well, but here are the last two quarters I added, Alaska and Hawaii. I'm particularly fond of Alaska myself.

Before I finished with the state quarters I realized that my little pursuit was soon going to be over, and I thought, "Well if I have ten years worth of quarters already... why don't I just collect all quarters?" And so, with the purchase of a few more archival folders, and one crazy afternoon spent going through our change jar, I was on my way!

These Washingtons have been surprisingly more difficult to collect. I don't have any Washington quarters from before 1965, and I'm even missing some certain key years and mintmarks from the 1990s! Which is just crazy... if I was alive when these quarters were struck I feel like they should be really easy to obtain. I'm currently missing 1991-D and 1993-D, so all y'all should check your pockets and try to help a nerd out.

Of course, as you're probably guessing, one thing led to another and all of a sudden I wanted even older quarters... quarters before they decided to put George Washington on them. What I needed was... Standing Liberty. The Standing Liberty was struck between 1916 and 1930, and is considered by some coin experts to be one of the more beautiful of United States coinage. Of course coins that old just don't turn up on pocket change that frequently anymore, so I had to take my collecting to a whole new level. Coin shops and estate sales and flea markets are a popular place to find quarters like this, but being the Internet-savvy consumer that I am, I quickly learned the joys of coins on eBay.

I now am the proud owner of two of these coins, one from 1926 and one from 1928. I am a fan of old stuff, after all, and I just find these coins to be so charming. I'm hoping to expand this part of my collection in the future, but not anytime soon since, you know, it costs money to collect money...

I love my little coin collection, and I hope y'all do too. Someday I'll expand out of quarters... maybe into dimes! Who knows!?!? You'll have to stay tuned to find out what happens next in my crazy little world!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Graduation is almost here!

They started setting up the main campus of Columbia University in preparation for graduation about a week ago. They start early, but for good reason because it's a big job! The entire main campus is filled with faculty, stuents, and families on the big graduation day. Not to mention that each school has its own graduation ceremony in the days before and after the university day, so it's a pretty intense week of celebration. Here you can see they've already got faculty seating placed on the steps of Low Library. On either side beyond the frame of this picture there are huge bleachers going up for the graduates.

I've seen Columbia University do this set-up and tear-down for graduation twice now. This is the third time, and it's obviously much more exciting now because my B is graduating this year and we'll actually get to see the ceremony and sit in the big tents for the families! And it will probably be horribly boring when we're actually suffering through the ceremony in 89% humidity, but I'm still excited.

Columbia University is looking quite nice in general these days. Early summer looks good on it, especially before the heat rises too much and the whole places begins to reek of rotting garbage. But for now, the intense green of the trees on the campus walk is really quite stunning. This photo does not do it justice.

Sadly, it is finals time for the both of us so my enjoyment of the little things in life is generally... not happening. But I do intend to enjoy some Iliad later today, and maybe some sushi too.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Squirrel Stuff I Own: Happy Squirrel Chewing Gum

Were I awesome enough to run a chewing gum factory* this is the type of gum I would produce. That's right. You never really thought that squirrels and gum could be combined, did you? Oh, but here they are... in all their glory.

I received this particular squirrel object from my friend A, who recently moved away after living in our neighborhood for a year or so. But apparently she moved to HEAVEN because that is the only place I can think of where such a wonderful item could be made! She sent this to me in the mail, and I bounced around in excitement for almost three hours straight. Really, ask B! Unfortunately, I don't display this chewing gum in our apartment, because... well, it's a little weird. But damn, it makes me happy.

*My dreams of owning some sort of factory started at a young age. My sister and I changed the words to that Simple Gifts song back in church and sung it this way:
'Tis a gift to be simple
'Tis a gift to be free
'Tis a gift to own the sausage factory

It made much more sense this way, in my opinion. The original lyrics are just weird, and how were we elementary schoolers supposed to know what it meant to "come down where we ought to be" or whatever? But it seems pretty clear that running the sausage factory would be a REAL gift.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Squirrel Stuff I Own: Squirrel Nutcracker

This squirrel nutcracker was a gift from some close family friends at my bridal shower last summer. Boy do they know me! I would also like to note that this was not a typical bridal shower. Not only were there men in attendance, there were lots of strawberry daiquiris and any oohing and aahing that was done over presents was done in an ironic way. Thanks for the not-lame bridal shower, Mom and Mrs. Sanderson!

Anyway, I don't actually crack nuts with this thing, clearly. Mostly because the nuts in this house are always pre-cracked. But he has made a wonderful little bookend for the second layer of books on this particular shelf. His little tail moves up and down to work the cracking mechanism in his mouth, and from time to time I find myself playing with it. While this may be the least-cuddly of all the squirrel stuff I've shown you so far, I think this might actually be the classiest squirrel item I own, and I intend for him to have a prominent spot in our kitchen next year.

And I just noticed that there is a very interesting selection of books hidden behind his tail. Quite a range! In fact, I see The Hot Zone is in there. That was one of my very favorite books back in middle school, and made me want to be a virologist for many years. Now that would be some job security during this swine flu hysteria!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

opus, operis, n.

So remember that sweet double blog with a guest blogger that I was promising you this week? Yeah, ummm... how does next week work for that? Is that good?

Oh who am I kidding! I know all my loyal readers will stick around and wait. It's going to be a doozy of a post.

In the meantime, we once again did a New York thing and did not bring our camera. We saw Il Trovatore yesterday at the Met! Some of you may know that B and I are the happy godchildren of a fairy opera godmother. Her largess earlier this year allowed us to see Orfeo ed Euridice, our very first opera. Orfeo was a mere hour and a half long, and had very sparse and modern decoration for the stage. Il Trovatore was almost three hours long, and had a much more elaborate set, so I think it was more of a "typical" opera. We do both enjoy the opera, although it sometimes takes patience to get through those long, long sets where a character mourns somebody's forthcoming death for almost fifteen minutes straight. Nevertheless, it was a great Saturday project, and a good break from all the schoolwork we've been doing as the academic year comes to a close.

New York City does have some great cultural stuff. I personally have very little use for the outdoor concerts or the movies and television shows being filmed here or the fact that the bars are open pretty much all night long. I do love the museums. I love that on any weekend there will be a new exhibit opening at one of the many museums around town. And I like that we have things like the opera and the orchestra and the ballet. I mean, I haven't actually gone to the ballet yet, but I like that I could.

In other, perhaps more excited news for our friends, our wedding finally made the Mac Today!
'Cuz you know, it's only been more than seven months since the actual event. But yay! Ironically, now that we finally would like to have two copies of the Mac Today we now only receive one because we are married and count as only one person.

Alright, last day of class tomorrow, folks. That should mean more blogging around these parts, especially since I have about fifteen topics for this blog floating around in my head that I need to get to! Not to mention that we need to start packing soon and I still have so many squirrel things I need to show you! Oh the excitement!